Launched last year as a replacement for the subcompact Festiva, Ford's little Aspire has been a modest success in a market segment - basic transportation - that is itself only modestly successful. After all, as long as the economy is good, roomier and more powerful cars are going to rule the road. Although it is quite capable of freeway cruising and keeping up with traffic, no one could call the Aspire powerful. But, measured against other cars in this class, it's reasonably roomy and does have its appeal. It's well-suited for use as a second or third family car, with safety features that take some of the worry out of handing it over to younger drivers. And it's an excellent commuter vehicle - comfortable, durable and cheap to operate. The bottom line is also quite pleasing; the 3-door base we tested came in under $10,000, with air conditioning and an AM/FM radio.